• Lacson wants casinos covered by AMLA

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    TO strengthen the country’s Anti-Money Laundering law and prevent the entry of dirty money, Sen. Panfilo Lacson filed a bill that seeks to expand the coverage of the law to include casinos and other Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs).

    Senate Bill 45 also prohibits the filing of money laundering cases and the freezing of assets of a candidate during an election period.

    Lacson, in filing the measure, said the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) noted how money launderers use businesses and professions to cover their illegal transactions.

    Aside from casinos, Lacson also wants to include real estate brokers and dealers of art works and motor vehicles in the list of institutions and persons covered by the law.

    “While the contributions of the (casino) industry are acknowledged, it is also understood that casinos are equally exposed to the raging threats of money laundering,” the senator said.

    The bill is an offshoot of the entry into the country of $81 million stolen from the Bank of Bangladesh. The money was deposited at the Rizal Commercial banking Corporation (RCBC) Jupiter Branch in Makati City and later moved to several casinos though junket operators. A portion of the money was delivered directly to junket operators by remittance firm PhilRem.

    To prevent this from happening again, Lacson in his proposal wants to prohibit casino operators from receiving cash for transmittal through wire or telegraphic transfer for or on behalf of a customer, payment in cash of funds received through wire or telegraphic transfer and cashing of checks or other negotiable instruments.

    Casino transactions that will be covered by the proposal include single or aggregate transactions exceeding P150,000 in one gaming day.

    For dealers of precious metals and stones, the covered transactions include those exceeding P1 million. For real estate brokers, covered are single transactions exceeding P3 million.

    Lacson also included provisions that will prevent the council from being used for political and economic harassment.

    The bill specified that no case for money laundering may be filed and no assets shall be frozen, attached or forfeited to the prejudice of a candidate during an election period.

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